Yorktown pitcher Kate Bauman struck out six of Edison’s first eight batters with a heavy dose of fastballs on March 25. Facing an Eagle freshman with two strikes and two outs in the third inning, Bauman decided to pull the string.
The Patriot sophomore wound and released, this time delivering a changeup. The Edison batter, expecting the heat, swung early and stood in amazement at the drop in velocity, the ball yet to arrive in the catcher’s glove.
"Whoa!" the freshman said as the ball floated in the air, seemingly allowing her enough time for a second swing.
Deception led to strikeout No. 7 for Bauman, who finished with a career-high 16 as Yorktown won its home opener 12-2. Bauman surrendered just two hits in six innings of work.
Edison’s two hits were the first Bauman allowed in three starts. The Eagles were also the first team to get a ball out of the infield against the right-hander. She also defeated Herndon and Falls Church.
"It’s always beautiful to watch Kate pitch," Yorktown head coach Julie Fetter said.
While Bauman is a gifted pitcher, she had to wait her turn to advance through the ranks of the Yorktown pitching staff. She played JV as a freshman because the varsity already had a standout hurler — Hannah Bauman, Kate’s older sister. Hannah Bauman was named National District Pitcher of the Year as a junior and senior and was a key component to Yorktown’s three consecutive district titles from 2007-09.
Hannah Bauman is now a freshman pitcher at Grinnell College, a Division III school in Iowa. The sisters still talk quite a bit and Hannah offers pitching advice. Before the Edison game — Kate Bauman’s first varsity home start — Hannah told her younger sister to stay calm and throw a lot of changeups, Hannah’s go-to pitch.
From Kate Bauman’s point of view, the results were mixed.
"I thought that tonight went really well," she said, happy with the way she threw her curve ball. "I was pleased with how I pitched. I wish my changeup had worked [better]."
What about the one against the Edison freshman?
"That was a good one," Kate Bauman said with a laugh.
One difference between the Bauman sisters is that Kate wears a protective mask while in the circle. Two years ago their younger sister Sarah, also a pitcher, was hit in the face with a ball and was taken to the emergency room. Now an eighth-grader, Sarah Bauman has since given up softball and focuses on soccer and basketball.
Kate Bauman started wearing the protective mask last season. She said it took awhile to get comfortable with but she doesn’t mind it anymore. Hannah chose not to wear a mask, though she would have worn a different face guard at a younger age if things went her way.
"I really wanted to be a catcher," Hannah Bauman said, while at a softball tournament in Florida, "but [my father] said it was too dangerous and he made me a pitcher."
Reid Bauman worked with and coached his daughters from a young age, hoping they would get where they are today.
"My knees are killing me because I’ve been their catcher for many, many years," he said. "I’m proud of them. It’s been exciting."
Reid Bauman said he wants Kate to keep realistic expectations since she is likely to fail at times while growing as a pitcher. Kate Bauman, whose fastball has been clocked in the mid-50s, said she’s also been working hard to become a better hitter. Against Edison she was 1-for-3 with an RBI single. She got plenty of run support from her teammates, including a two-run homer from sophomore first baseman Charlotte Batdorf.